QUICK FACTS ABOUT MERCY ADOPTIONS

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1 ABOUT MERCY MINISTRIES Many of the young women who apply to the program struggle with an array of life controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, depression, physical or sexual abuse, and on occasion unplanned pregnancy. Mercy Ministries is a voluntary program for young women ages When accepted to the program they live in one of Mercy s residential homes which are located in California, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee. Mercy Ministries is a faith-based ministry that does not accept state or federal funds, and thus raises all financial support for the program through donations. Mercy Ministries program is free-of-charge for all women. The Adoption Department is located in the corporate office on the same campus as the Nashville home. Pictured right: Corporate Office (top), Nashville Home (bottom) PREGNANT RESIDENT INFORMATION Mercy Ministries accepts young women from across the United States. Pregnant residents are always assigned to the Tennessee home, due to licensing and proximity of the Adoptions Department. In addition to receiving weekly individual and group counseling, the pregnant resident will complete six weeks of Basic Decision Making classes. These classes include biblical counsel, resources, and practical information on the options for both parenting and adoption. At the end of Basic Decision Making, the expectant mother makes her decision to parent her child or place her baby with an adoptive family. QUICK FACTS ABOUT MERCY ADOPTIONS We have participated in more than 150 adoptions in the last 30 years. We are an approved Tennessee Licensed Child-Placing Agency. We provide adoption services to birth mothers who are current residents at Mercy. We only conduct domestic infant placements. We are an active member of the Middle Tennessee Inter-Agency Adoption Coalition (IAC). We continually accept applications from prospective adoptive families. page 1

2 MERCY S ADOPTION PROGRAM The Adoption Program is just one of the many amazing components of the organization. Since Adoptions is not the sole focus of Mercy, we strongly encourage families to also consider other adoption agencies or attorneys in their area while continuing to work with Mercy. Mercy Ministries is able to place babies for adoption in states that comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, providing that the placement meets adoption requirements for both the placing and receiving states. Due to New York adoption laws, Mercy is not currently able to work with New York families. Waiting time for a placement varies due to the nature of Mercy s program. Factors that affect the waiting time are: 1) The number of expecting residents currently in the program and 2) A birth mother s involvement in choosing a family for her baby. Adoption staff provide a birth mother with profiles created by approved adoptive families. Before a family s profile is shown to a birth mother, the family must have completed the application process and been approved by Mercy as an awaiting family. Personal relationships are a cornerstone to the mission of Mercy. Our Adoption staff partner with both the birth mother and adoptive family throughout the adoption process. Adoption staff are experienced and knowledgeable in domestic infant placements. SERVICES PROVIDED FOR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES Professional assistance in relationship-building between a birth parent(s) and the adoptive family Hospital support to the birth parent(s) and the adoptive family throughout the hospital stay Partnership with the adoptive family s social worker and adoption attorney pre- and post-placement Assistance to the birth parent(s) and adoptive family in creating an openness agreement Facilitation in the placement of a baby into their forever home and provide ongoing support to all parties throughout finalization Provide referrals to community and national resources post-placement, as needed page 2

3 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What fees are involved in a Mercy Ministries adoption? The only fees Mercy Ministries charges in an adoptive placement are the $25.00 application fee and a $ application processing fee. We require that an adoptive family reimburse Mercy Ministries for third-party adoption related expenses. These costs can include but are not limited to: Tennessee attorney fees and court costs related to the termination of parental rights Medical costs for the birth mother and baby that are not covered by health insurance plans Interim care fees Miscellaneous mailing/courier fees and birth certificate costs The reimbursement of third-party expenses to the agency are expected to be paid in-full at the time of placement. Additional adoption costs not related to Mercy Ministries, which are required in order to complete an adoptive placement include but are not limited to: Cost of having a home study Travel expenses to/from Tennessee Time off from work to meet a birth parent(s) and hospital/delivery Supervisory visits completed by a social worker during post-placement Attorney fees to finalize the adoption in your state Does Mercy Ministries conduct home studies? Mercy Ministries does not conduct home studies. Each adoptive family will be responsible for choosing a licensed child-placing agency or licensed clinical social worker in their area to complete their home study. Please ensure that the licensed agency/social worker selected is willing to provide Mercy Ministries with an original, notarized copy of the completed home study and background checks. page 3

4 What is Interim Care? Interim Care can be better understood as a family serving in the gap of an adoptive placement. Dependent upon the timeframe of completing the termination of the birth parents parental rights, it is often necessary for a baby to be placed with a Mercy Ministries approved Interim Care family, until all legal risks are eliminated. An Interim Care family completes a similar application process as an adoptive family, but receives additional training and a completed home study by Mercy Ministries Adoption staff. Some may describe an Interim Care family as a Foster Care family, but Mercy s families do not work with the state s foster care system. The need for utilizing an Interim Care family is determined by Adoption staff on a case-by-case basis. Where can I download the adoption application? The Adoption Application is available online for purchase and download. Does Mercy accept paperwork from other adoption agencies? Each adoptive family s file must have the same required application information. We are unable to accept other adoption agency documents (i.e. reference forms, medical forms, etc.) due to licensing standards. Adoption application information must be on Mercy Ministries forms. What do I send when the adoption application is complete? Once you have completed and gathered the Mercy Ministries adoption paperwork, mail the documentation in its entirety to the Adoptions Department, along with: A notarized copy of your original home study Copies of all background checks completed/mentioned in your home study (including FBI clearances results) Scrapbook (one per family) A non-refundable $ application processing fee page 4

5 CONTACT US If you have any questions regarding the application paperwork, please contact the Adoptions Department so we can assist in ensuring your application is completed within the state of Tennessee s licensing requirements. If you are interested in learning more about adoption services with Mercy Ministries please feel free to contact us! Phone: Web: MercyMinistries.com/Adopt We hope you will remember Mercy Ministries, our expectant mothers, and our babies in your prayers. page 5

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